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The Surprising Side Effect Of Using Dry Shampoo & What To Do About It 

Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director
By Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director
Alexandra Engler is the Beauty Director. Previously she worked at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com.
Image by Leandro Crespi / Stocksy
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May 8, 2019

There are few regularly active people I know who don't hail dry shampoo as one of their beauty must-haves. For good reason: In a few spritzes or sprinkles, it soaks up sweat and oil, no shower or blowout required.

The problem? With too-regular application and improper cleansing the buildup can suffocate the scalp and disrupt proper oil production.

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"[With dry shampoo buildup], you may experience irritation, inflammation, dryness, itching, and flakes as a result, and in severe cases, this may even lead to hair shedding," says board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D.

Just think of the skin on your scalp as an extension of the skin on your face: If you get oily or sweaty, you wouldn't skip washing entirely and just keep piling on setting powder instead.

"The hair can take styling products better, but the scalp is different—you need to clean the scalp regularly," says board-certified dermatologist Doris Day, M.D., who notes much of this still needs to be studied. "You can absolutely use dry shampoos in moderation—everything in moderation!—but you can also look for products that care for the hair and scalp as well."

So here's the good news: Thanks to the crop of better-for-your-scalp options, you can feel better about your usage. These are made with ingredients that not only help refresh your hair but are actually good for it.

Here, our picks for the best between-wash products on the market:

For Combo + Textured: Aveda Rinseless Refresh Micellar Hair & Scalp Refresher

Made with the skin-care-favorite ingredient (micellar water), this spray instantly cleanses and helps revive your style. But what makes this product so great for people who might get oily at the scalp but would still like hydration elsewhere? The micellar technology works like a magnet, attracting and absorbing oil, but since this is a no-rinse spray, instead of washing it out, the micelles will distribute it to other parts of the hair. 

Rinseless Refresh Micellar Hair & Scalp Refresher, Aveda, $31

For Dry: Christophe Robin Regenerating Hair Finish Lotion with Hibiscus Vinegar

This multipurpose product can not only be used as a detangler, shine-enhancer, color protectant, and body mist, but it's great a re-styler for those with dehydrated strands. The spray removes impurities while infusing moisturizing ingredients (like castor oil) and antioxidants.

Regenerating Hair Finish Lotion with Hibiscus Vinegar, Christophe Robin, $40

For Oily: Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Biotin Dry Shampoo

The main active ingredients in this option tackle excessive oil quite brilliantly. First the Binchotan charcoal draws out dirt, pollutants, and sweat. Then a clay and rice starch complex absorbs it at the roots, leaving the hair clean and lifted. And finally, the witch hazel helps regulate oil production long term.

Scalp Revival Charcoal + Biotin Dry Shampoo, Briogeo, $24

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Alexandra Engler
Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director

Alexandra Engler is the Beauty Director at mindbodygreen. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She has worked at many top publications and brands including Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends and updates in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as travel, financial wellness, and parenting. She has reported on the intricacies of product formulations, the diversification of the beauty industry, and and in-depth look on how to treat acne from the inside, out (after a decade-long struggle with the skin condition herself). She lives in Brooklyn, New York.